Welcome to Budget Deck Breakdown, the series that looks for ways to have fun in Hearthstone without worrying about the Legendaries you got from packs. We're back from a short hiatus to bring the latest in budget Hearthstone from Forged in the Barrens, and what better way to get in shape for the new meta than with Push-Ups?
The Horrible History of Handbuff Warrior
Handbuffs have a long and storied history in Hearthstone, dating back to Mean Streets of Gadgetzan when the Grimy Goons (Warrior, Paladin, and Hunter) introduced the mechanic. Although it was fun, handbuffing couldn't stand up to the Jades or Kazakus, and Don Han'Cho was supplanted as leader of the Grimy Goons by Patches the Pirate in a brutal takeover historians refer to as "The Red Bar Mitzvah." (This is all canon, trust me.)
While a good Handbuff deck has yet to catch on in Standard, we've taken our best swing at utilizing some of the new tools from the expansion and Core set to make a Warrior deck designed to control the board with spells, weapons, and Rush minions while buffing minions in our hand with Conditioning and Overlord Runthak to kill our opponent with an army of larger and larger men.
Rush Warrior Does Its Push-Ups
This deck is built to take advantage of handbuffs from Conditioning and Overlord Runthak by running a lot of minions that wear buffs well and a lot of card draw to draw those minions. We have Rush minions like Stonemaul Anchorman, Bumper Car, and Claw Machine, as well as Athletic Studies to find more Rush minions and get one of our Rushers out a turn early, which can sometimes be crucial.
Our draw package consists of cards like Slam, Outrider's Axe, Cutting Class, and Stonemaul Anchorman to get deeper into our deck and find Conditioning or minions to buff. Additionally, we have Claw Machine to draw and buff a useful minion and Taelan Fordring to tutor Grommash Hellscream.
Our deck owes a lot to the Core set. Overlord Runthak is our most reliable way to get buffs onto our minions early while controlling the board, and Shield Slam is useful removal at all points in the game. Most importantly, we get an honest-to-goodness finisher in Grommash Hellscream.
What's the Plan?
We'd like to mulligan for cheap removal like Slam and Minefield. Outrider's Axe is very useful, as well. Athletic Studies is a decent keep since it gives us a way to get a Rush minion on board quicker so we can keep them from killing us. Armor Vendor is a decent 1-Drop that gives us survivability and a body.
We want to control their board while finding Overlord Runthak and Conditioning to make our board bigger than theirs. Defensive minions like Sword Eater and Scrap Golem are great for survivability, and Stonemaul Anchorman and Bumper Car (which gives us additional Rush minions) are really good at killing their stuff while giving us extra cards.
We want to find Overlord Runthak and Conditioning to give our minions the extra stats to beat theirs. If we suspect our opponent runs Watch Posts, we can prioritize finding Minefield as an efficient way of dealing with an on-curve Far Watch Post or Mor'shan Watch Post. Outrider's Axe can be a good value engine, drawing cards while killing their early stuff.
We play for the board while trying to keep them off of it. We're more likely to use our Conditionings before they hit Rank 3 in this matchup because we need an earlier swing turn to punish our opponent and give us the opening we need to win the game. Ideally, we would like to put them in range of being finished off by a buffed-up Grommash Hellscream plus Sword and Board.
We look for Overlord Runthak, Athletic Studies (for additional bodies and to discount Runthak) and Minefield (for Watch Posts). Ironclad can be an all-star in this matchup as a big body that we can get down early and force our opponent to deal with. Cutting Class is a good keep as well, especially if we have a weapon like Sword Eater or Outrider's Axe.
Against control, we dig as fast as we can to find Grommash Hellscream and buffs. We apply the buffs to Grommash Hellscream, then we apply Grommash Hellscream to the opponent's forehead. If we can manage it we want to keep our best removal spells to deal with Taunts that could keep us from killing them. Alternately, we can use our buffs to make a lot of big bodies until we have a board our opponent can't deal with.
Card Replacements for the Rich and Famous
Rokara is a cheap, efficient Rush minion that aids our plan of buffing our minions, though only once they're on board and attacking. Kargath Bladefist is a decent Rush body early that gives us a really powerful late-game minion, and Blademaster Samuro was designed for being buffed. Any of those Rush minions can be added in if you have them. You could also take the deck in a Menagerie direction by adding in Ringmaster's Baton, Ringmaster Whatley and Tent Trasher.
Other budget options include Stage Dive, which can tutor a Rush minion while buffing it, and minions that give extra handbuff like Costumed Entertainer and Stage Hand. If you want to build a more Taunt-oriented version of the deck, adding in Bulk Up and Feat of Strength can serve the strategy of making your minions a lot bigger. Finally, if you're not afraid of value you can add in War Cache to get more options for slower matchups.
There's nothing like push-ups to get you in shape for the Year of the Gryphon, and no class does push-ups better than Warrior. With help from Legendaries in the Core set and new tools from Forged in the Barrens, we've got a deck that resilient against aggro, draws lots of cards, and can finish the game in a variety of ways. Most importantly, it does all of this with handbuffs.
What budget decks have you been playing in the early days of the expansion? Share your thoughts (or lists) in the comments!